Browse through Marcy Mendelson’s Highlights and you’ll start to notice a pattern: most take place far from the reaches of humanity, featuring snapshots of dusky Namibian sand dunes and large spotted cats framed at distances close enough to make you nervous even behind the comfort of your computer screen. A writer, photojournalist and filmmaker focused on cheetah conservation at Cheetah-Watch, Marcy keeps us in touch with our wild side as AFAR’s Safari Correspondent. Though she prefers to be roughing it in the African desert (she’s planning a return soon), the Oakland native is equally at home in heels in SoMa—at the Cat Club, of course.
Occupation: Writer, Photographer, Filmmaker.
My next trip is to Kenya.
First international trip—England with my family for vacation when I was 9 years old. It was the first time I shot with my dad’s canon SLR. I took a picture of a black sheep in a field.
Porcupine quills found in the remote Namibian veld are my most treasured travel souvenir.
Favorite local style/most stylish place: A San Francisco speakeasy with 60s mod fashionistas tending bar… shhhh! I can’t tell you where!
iPhone or DSLR? DSLR and an old film camera.
Plugged-in or unplugged? Unplugged off and on while I explore, then plugged in when I get back to electricity to share & write.
Public transportation, cab, or bike? 4×4, safari vehicle or horse! When in the city it’s feet first, then public, then cab.
Hanging out in a local café and making friends with the staff is the best way/place to connect with locals.
What’s the one hometown place you miss most while traveling? I miss wearing my high heels and seeing old friends at Cat Club on a whim.
Favorite travel book: Whatever you do, Don’t Run! By Peter Allison
Most out-of-character travel experience? Walking along train tracks through the Peruvian jungle to get to the next town. A little harrowing at times when we got lost in the undergrowth!
Favorite foreign word or phrase: “Howzit?” is South African slang for “How are you?”, “Good morning,” and “How is it going?” It’s almost exclusively a greeting, and seldom a question.
Favorite foreign tradition: the looooong afternoon lunches in Italy.
Travel has taught me that home is everywhere, the human family is incredible, and animals are far more intelligent that we’ll ever fully comprehend.